After two weeks of subpar play and injuries, the New York Knicks excelled in week nine of the NBA season. They played three games against the Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets and Oklahoma City Thunder, whose records do not reflect their toughness on the court. After last Sunday’s win against the Atlanta Hawks, the Knicks went on to sweep this week’s schedule and now head into next week riding a four game winning streak.
New York Knicks Weekly Recap: Four in a Row
The Record: 16-13 – 6th in the Eastern Conference
The MVP: Michael Beasley
Michael Beasley continues to impress when he gets his opportunities with each passing game. Beasley averaged 51 percent shooting while tying for a season-high 30 points in Sunday’s win against the Thunder. He came up big in Tuesday night’s overtime win against the Lakers as well, scoring 12 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Beasley’s importance does not just come in how many points he scores or his percentages, but how he scores the ball. Beasley can get to the basket in multiple ways and angles. This makes him a dangerous player anywhere inside the arc. Although he is not known for his three point shooting, Beasley hit two big three’s early on in Sunday’s game to get the offense rolling. His defense has improved and he has become a cog in the Knicks success. Beasley has become a pleasant surprise for someone who barely played in the first couple weeks of the season. He is the definition of professional, staying prepared for whenever his name is called.
Porzingis Makes History Again
Had it not been for a knee injury slowing him down, Kristaps Porzingis may have had another career week. In Tuesday’s win against the Lakers, Porzingis scored 27 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, had five blocks and hit five three pointers. He is the first player in NBA history to have over 35 points, 10 rebounds, five blocks and five three pointers in a game. He has been able to avoid any long term injuries, but his recent stretch of injuries have been concerning. The Knicks were 0-4 in games where Porzinigis did not play before Saturday’s win against the Thunder. Hopefully he can return Monday against the Charlotte Hornets. His health is tied to the Knicks success.
Other Key Players:
Lance Thomas does not get a spotlight because of his stats. He is a player where much of his play is overshadowed by the big scorers on the team. Thomas is one of those perfect role players to have on a team. He knows his job, he plays defense and he picks his shots. Thomas has quietly become a perfect addition to the starting lineup with all the injuries and is an important piece to what the Knicks are trying to do.
The French rookie has taken some big strides and is improving with each game he plays. Frank Ntilikina scored a career high 13 points against the Lakers and shot well from the perimeter. Ntilikina’s shot still needs more consistency, but he is playing defense and getting steals and assists, which is just as important. He got into foul trouble on Saturday and was only able to play 13 minutes because of it. This is no surprise as Porzingis had a problem with foul trouble in his rookie year. Hopefully Ntilikina can come up big this week again.
Week after week, Courtney Lee is stepping up to become one of the best scoring options for this team. Not only did he average 19 points for the week, but Lee stepped up against the Nets, scoring a season-high 27 points. Lee continues to be an important presence in the Knicks rotation, especially with Tim Hardaway Jr. out. The best part about Lee is that he does not constantly need the ball. He is the perfect team player that can step up when he needs to.
The Knicks showed this week they are not defined by one star player. When someone goes down it is next man up. There is a special chemistry between this bunch. This teams success thrives on players stepping up. The Thunder were ruled favorites on Saturday despite playing three overtimes the night before. The Knicks were without Porzingis and Hardaway Jr., two of their best scorers. With Carmelo Anthony making his first return to Madison Square Garden, it seemed as though the Knicks would be in for a rough night. Six players on the Knicks scored in double figures to help this team hand the Thunder a 15-point loss. The Knicks can compete on any given night despite who is playing.
The Knicks finish out December playing five of their next seven games on the road. This is a big next couple of weeks for this team. If they are going contend, they have to start putting more up more wins on the road. They are currently 2-8 in road games. The Knicks are currently half a game behind the fifth and fourth seeds. This could be a pivotal week for them to build some space between the lower half of the standings and rise even higher. If not, they will be in for a long start to 2018.